Sri Lanka business chamber to form broad alliance for peace

July 23, 2008 (LBO) – The private sector of Sri Lanka must join together to work towards ending the conflict to attain peace and development, the newly appointed chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) said. The 25-year ethnic conflict has affected the trade and commerce sector and slowed down the country’s growth, said Jayampathi Bandaranayake, who is also chairman of Ceylon Tobacco Company.

“The country has been performing below its potential the last two decades,” he told the chamber’s 169th Annual General Meeting on Monday.

“Given what is at stake for the country’s progress we in the organized private sector simply cannot wait for an indefinite period for the resolution of this conflict.”

Sri Lanka’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at 6.8 percent in 2007 was lower than that of other nations in the region.

Its per capita income of 1,600 dollars can further be improved with the resolution of conflict.

“We propose to forge a broader alliance with the rest of the wider private sector such as farmers, traders and small and medium entrepreneurs,” Bandaranayake said.

Sri Lanka’s private sector contributes nearly 80 percent to the GDP of the country through agriculture, industry and